bims-mecosi Biomed News
on Membrane contact sites
Issue of 2024‒02‒25
thirteen papers selected by
Verena Kohler, Umeå University

  1. Trends Cell Biol. 2024 Feb 22. pii: S0962-8924(24)00023-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Unlike most other organelles found in multiple copies, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a unique singular organelle within eukaryotic cells. Despite its continuous membrane structure, encompassing more than half of the cellular endomembrane system, the ER is subdivided into specialized sub-compartments, including morphological, membrane contact site (MCS), and de novo organelle biogenesis domains. In this review, we discuss recent emerging evidence indicating that, in response to nutrient stress, cells undergo a reorganization of these sub-compartmental ER domains through two main mechanisms: non-destructive remodeling of morphological ER domains via regulation of MCS and organelle hitchhiking, and destructive remodeling of specialized domains by ER-phagy. We further highlight and propose a critical role of membrane lipid metabolism in this ER remodeling during starvation.
    Keywords:  endoplasmic reticulum; hitchhiking; lipids; membrane contact sites; membrane remodeling; metabolism; nutrient stress
  2. Nat Commun. 2024 Feb 19. 15(1): 1516
      Mitochondrial and lysosomal activities are crucial to maintain cellular homeostasis: optimal coordination is achieved at their membrane contact sites where distinct protein machineries regulate organelle network dynamics, ions and metabolites exchange. Here we describe a genetically encoded SPLICS reporter for short- and long- juxtapositions between mitochondria and lysosomes. We report the existence of narrow and wide lysosome-mitochondria contacts differently modulated by mitophagy, autophagy and genetic manipulation of tethering factors. The overexpression of α-synuclein (α-syn) reduces the apposition of mitochondria/lysosomes membranes and affects their privileged Ca2+ transfer, impinging on TFEB nuclear translocation. We observe enhanced TFEB nuclear translocation in α-syn-overexpressing cells. We propose that α-syn, by interfering with mitochondria/lysosomes tethering impacts on local Ca2+ regulated pathways, among which TFEB mediated signaling, and in turn mitochondrial and lysosomal function. Defects in mitochondria and lysosome represent a common hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases: targeting their communication could open therapeutic avenues.
  3. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2024 ;11 1353533
      Mitochondria-associated membrane (MAM) serve as crucial contact sites between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Recent research has highlighted the significance of MAM, which serve as a platform for various protein molecules, in processes such as calcium signaling, ATP production, mitochondrial structure and function, and autophagy. Cardiac diseases caused by any reason can lead to changes in myocardial structure and function, significantly impacting human health. Notably, MAM exhibits various regulatory effects to maintain cellular balance in several cardiac diseases conditions, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, and cardiotoxicity. MAM proteins independently or interact with their counterparts, forming essential tethers between the ER and mitochondria in cardiomyocytes. This review provides an overview of key MAM regulators, detailing their structure and functions. Additionally, it explores the connection between MAM and various cardiac injuries, suggesting that precise genetic, pharmacological, and physical regulation of MAM may be a promising strategy for preventing and treating heart failure.
    Keywords:  Ca2+ homeostasis; apoptosis; autophagy; cardiac disease; mitochondria-associated membrane
  4. Cardiovasc Res. 2024 Feb 17. 119(18): 2875-2883
      Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease worldwide. The pathomechanisms of DKD are multifactorial, yet haemodynamic and metabolic changes in the early stages of the disease appear to predispose towards irreversible functional loss and histopathological changes. Recent studies highlight the importance of endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria-associated membranes (ER-MAMs), structures conveying important cellular homeostatic and metabolic effects, in the pathology of DKD. Disruption of ER-MAM integrity in diabetic kidneys is associated with DKD progression, but the regulation of ER-MAMs and their pathogenic contribution remain largely unknown. Exploring the cell-specific components and dynamic changes of ER-MAMs in diabetic kidneys may lead to the identification of new approaches to detect and stratify diabetic patients with DKD. In addition, these insights may lead to novel therapeutic approaches to target and/or reverse disease progression. In this review, we discuss the association of ER-MAMs with key pathomechanisms driving DKD such as insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, ER stress, and inflammasome activation and the importance of further exploration of ER-MAMs as diagnostic and therapeutic targets in DKD.
    Keywords:  Diabetic kidney disease; ER stress; ER-MAMs; Mitochondrial dysfunction
  5. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2024 Apr 08. 379(1899): 20220388
      Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is a rare progressive lysosomal lipid storage disorder that manifests with a heterogeneous spectrum of clinical syndromes, including visceral, neurological and psychiatric symptoms. This monogenetic autosomal recessive disease is largely caused by mutations in the NPC1 gene, which controls intracellular lipid homeostasis. Vesicle-mediated endo-lysosomal lipid trafficking and non-vesicular lipid exchange via inter-organelle membrane contact sites are both regulated by the NPC1 protein. Loss of NPC1 function therefore triggers intracellular accumulation of diverse lipid species, including cholesterol, glycosphingolipids, sphingomyelin and sphingosine. The NPC1-mediated dysfunction of lipid transport has severe consequences for all brain cells, leading to neurodegeneration. Besides the cell-autonomous contribution of neuronal NPC1, aberrant NPC1 signalling in other brain cells is critical for the pathology. We discuss here the importance of endo-lysosomal dysfunction and a tight crosstalk between neurons, oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and microglia in NPC pathology. We strongly believe that a cell-specific rescue may not be sufficient to counteract the severity of the NPC pathology, but targeting common mechanisms, such as endo-lysosomal and lipid trafficking dysfunction, may ameliorate NPC pathology. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Understanding the endo-lysosomal network in neurodegeneration'.
    Keywords:  NPC1; cholesterol; endo-lysosomal trafficking; glia; neurons
  6. bioRxiv. 2024 Feb 05. pii: 2024.02.04.578804. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lipid transport proteins (LTPs) facilitate nonvesicular lipid exchange between cellular compartments and have critical roles in lipid homeostasis 1 . A new family of bridge-like LTPs (BLTPs) is thought to form lipid-transporting conduits between organelles 2 . One, BLTP2, is conserved across species but its function is not known. Here, we show that BLTP2 and its homolog directly regulate plasma membrane (PM) fluidity by increasing the phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) level in the PM. BLTP2 localizes to endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-PM contact sites 3 4, 5 , suggesting it transports PE from the ER to the PM. We find BLTP2 works in parallel with another pathway that regulates intracellular PE distribution and PM fluidity 6, 7 . BLTP2 expression correlates with breast cancer aggressiveness 8-10 . We found BLTP2 facilitates growth of a human cancer cell line and sustains its aggressiveness in an in vivo model of metastasis, suggesting maintenance of PM fluidity by BLTP2 may be critical for tumorigenesis in humans.
  7. Cell Commun Signal. 2024 Feb 17. 22(1): 133
      BACKGROUND: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is an aggressive cancer type with one of the lowest survival rates due to late diagnosis and the absence of effective treatments. A better understanding of PDAC biology will help researchers to discover the Achilles' heel of cancer cells. In that regard, our research team investigated the function of an emerging oncoprotein known as myoferlin. Myoferlin is overexpressed in PDAC and its silencing/targeting has been shown to affect cancer cell proliferation, migration, mitochondrial dynamics and metabolism. Nevertheless, our comprehension of myoferlin functions in cells remains limited. In this study, we aimed to understand the molecular mechanism linking myoferlin silencing to mitochondrial dynamics.METHODS: Experiments were performed on two pancreas cancer cell lines, Panc-1 and MiaPaCa-2. Myoferlin localization on mitochondria was evaluated by immunofluorescence, proximity ligation assay, and cell fractionation. The presence of myoferlin in mitochondria-associated membranes was assessed by cell fractionation and its function in mitochondrial calcium transfer was evaluated using calcium flow experiments, proximity ligation assays, co-immunoprecipitation, and timelapse fluorescence microscopy in living cells.
    RESULTS: Myoferlin localization on mitochondria was investigated. Our results suggest that myoferlin is unlikely to be located on mitochondria. Instead, we identified myoferlin as a new component of mitochondria-associated membranes. Its silencing significantly reduces the mitochondrial calcium level upon stimulation, probably through myoferlin interaction with the inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptors 3.
    CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, myoferlin was specifically demonstrated to be located in mitochondria-associated membranes where it participates to calcium flow. We hypothesized that this function explains our previous results on mitochondrial dynamics. This study improves our comprehension of myoferlin localization and function in cancer biology.
    Keywords:  Calcium signaling; ER-mitochondria contact sites; IP3R3; Mitochondria; Mitochondria-associated membranes; Myoferlin; Pancreatic cancer
  8. J Agric Food Chem. 2024 Feb 23.
      Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), as the most common phthalate, has been extensively used as a plasticizer to improve the plasticity of agricultural products, which pose severe harm to human health. Mitochondrial dynamics and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis are indispensable for maintaining mitochondria-associated ER membrane (MAM) integrity. In this study, we aimed to explore the effect of DEHP on the nervous system and its association with the ER-mitochondria interaction. Here, we showed that DEHP caused morphological changes, motor deficits, cognitive impairments, and blood-brain barrier disruption in the brain. DEHP triggered ER stress, which is mainly mediated by protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) signaling. Moreover, DEHP-induced mitofusin-2 (Mfn2) downregulation results in imbalance of the mitochondrial dynamics. Interestingly, DEHP exposure impaired MAMs by inhibiting the Mfn2-PERK interaction. Above all, this study elucidates the disruption of the Mfn2-PERK axis-mediated ER-mitochondria interaction as a phthalate-induced neurotoxicity that could be potentially developed as a novel therapy for neurological diseases.
    Keywords:  Mfn2; PERK; di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; mitochondria-associated endoplasmic reticulum membranes; neurotoxicity
  9. Rev Neurosci. 2024 Feb 19.
      An extensive review is presented on mitochondrial structure and function, mitochondrial proteins, the outer and inner membranes, cristae, the role of F1FO-ATP synthase, the mitochondrial contact site and cristae organizing system (MICOS), the sorting and assembly machinery morphology and function, and phospholipids, in particular cardiolipin. Aspects of mitochondrial regulation under physiological and pathological conditions are outlined, in particular the role of dysregulated MICOS protein subunit Mic60 in Parkinson's disease, the relations between mitochondrial quality control and proteins, and mitochondria as signaling organelles. A mathematical modeling approach of cristae and MICOS using mechanical beam theory is introduced and outlined. The proposed modeling is based on the premise that an optimization framework can be used for a better understanding of critical mitochondrial function and also to better map certain experiments and clinical interventions.
    Keywords:  MICOS; Mic60; cristae; metabolism; mitochondria; physiology
  10. STAR Protoc. 2024 Feb 21. pii: S2666-1667(24)00080-7. [Epub ahead of print]5(1): 102915
      Interorganelle contact sites regulate lipid metabolism, organelle dynamics and positioning, as well as apoptosis and autophagy. Here, we present a proximity ligation assay (PLA) protocol for measuring the association of two organelles in fixed cells. We describe steps for primary cell culture, primary cell transfection, and the assay itself. We then detail procedures for manual and image J-based analysis of PLA foci. This protocol optimizes the use of assay products and improves the identification of PLA foci labeling actual contact sites. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Ilamathi et al. (2023).1.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Cell culture; Cell-based Assays; Microscopy; Molecular/Chemical Probes
  11. Dev Cell. 2024 Feb 16. pii: S1534-5807(24)00036-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      The lipid droplet (LD) organization proteins Ldo16 and Ldo45 affect multiple aspects of LD biology in yeast. They are linked to the LD biogenesis machinery seipin, and their loss causes defects in LD positioning, protein targeting, and breakdown. However, their molecular roles remained enigmatic. Here, we report that Ldo16/45 form a tether complex with Vac8 to create vacuole lipid droplet (vCLIP) contact sites, which can form in the absence of seipin. The phosphatidylinositol transfer protein (PITP) Pdr16 is a further vCLIP-resident recruited specifically by Ldo45. While only an LD subpopulation is engaged in vCLIPs at glucose-replete conditions, nutrient deprivation results in vCLIP expansion, and vCLIP defects impair lipophagy upon prolonged starvation. In summary, Ldo16/45 are multifunctional proteins that control the formation of a metabolically regulated contact site. Our studies suggest a link between LD biogenesis and breakdown and contribute to a deeper understanding of how lipid homeostasis is maintained during metabolic challenges.
    Keywords:  LDAF1; Ldb16; Ldo16; Ldo45; Pdr16; Sei1; Vac8; lipophagy; promethin; seipin
  12. Int J Biol Macromol. 2024 Feb 15. pii: S0141-8130(24)01022-5. [Epub ahead of print] 130219
      Dysfunctional mitophagy contributes to Parkinson's disease (PD) by affecting dopamine-producing neurons. Mutations in parkin and pink1 genes, linked to familial PD, impede the removal of damaged mitochondria. Previous studies suggested Rab11's involvement in mitophagy alongside Parkin and Pink1. Additionally, mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contact sites (MERCS) regulate cellular functions, including mitochondrial quality control and calcium regulation. Our study explored whether activating mitophagy triggers the unfolded protein response and ER stress pathway in SH-SY5Y human cells. We induced a PD-like state by exposing undifferentiated SH-SY5Y cells to rotenone, an established PD-inducing agent. This led to reduced Rab11 and PERK- expression while increasing ATP5a, a mitochondrial marker, when Rab11 was overexpressed. Our findings suggest that enhancing endosomal trafficking can mitigate ER stress by regulating mitochondria, rescuing cells from apoptosis. Furthermore, we assessed the therapeutic potential of Rab11, both alone and in combination with L-Dopa, in a Drosophila PD model. In summary, our research underscores the role of mitophagy dysfunction in PD pathogenesis, highlighting Rab11's importance in alleviating ER stress and preserving mitochondrial function. It also provides insights into potential PD management strategies, including the synergistic use of Rab11 and L-Dopa.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; ER-stress; L-dopa; Mitochondria; Rab11; SH-SY5Y
  13. PLoS Biol. 2024 Feb 20. 22(2): e3002508
      Peroxisomes are organelles with crucial functions in oxidative metabolism. To correctly target to peroxisomes, proteins require specialized targeting signals. A mystery in the field is the sorting of proteins that carry a targeting signal for peroxisomes and as well as for other organelles, such as mitochondria or the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Exploring several of these proteins in fungal model systems, we observed that they can act as tethers bridging organelles together to create contact sites. We show that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae this mode of tethering involves the peroxisome import machinery, the ER-mitochondria encounter structure (ERMES) at mitochondria and the guided entry of tail-anchored proteins (GET) pathway at the ER. Our findings introduce a previously unexplored concept of how dual affinity proteins can regulate organelle attachment and communication.